If you are invited to participate in media training, here’s what you can expect:
- You will learn how to be concise. So many subject matter experts want to share everything they know, traveling down rabbit holes that are far too detailed. Broadcast interviews in particular are very different from normal conversation: you will learn to conclude first, then explain. In a fast-moving interview you always risk being interrupted.
- You will plan your message in advance with a goal of delivering your key points at least once and, if possible, repeating and summarizing them when you conclude.
- You will learn that you don’t have to answer every question, especially if you aren’t an expert. You’ll practice ways to say, “I’m not an expert in that area, but I can talk about this related topic…”
- You’ll learn how to work your firm name or product into the conversation, but sparingly and never more than once. Just by being interviewed with your name and company affiliation mentioned, you are demonstrating credibility and will be viewed as an expert.
- When thrown a complex question, you’ll learn how to pick and choose how you answer it. “Your question is nuanced and we don’t have time to address it all, but let me address this piece of your question.”
- You’ll learn about remote interviews and learn strategies to keep your eyes anchored on your computer’s camera. Place a photo or arrow there to make sure you do. Bonus points for putting some company swag with your logo in the background.
- You may be told not to be condescending. For example, while it has become popular for pundits to preface comments with words like “look” or “listen,” we think this makes a spokesperson appear combative or worse patronizing. We’ll suggest alternative ways of emphasizing your key points.
- You may be asked to participate in a recorded practice interview that will get played back and dissected. This can be a bit uncomfortable, but rest assured that it will be destroyed and won’t become part of some blooper reel. Hopefully you’ll also get a second bite at the apple and another chance to put your learnings into practice and learn from your mistakes.
Many of the skills gained in media training are applicable in other professional settings such as speaking on panels, meeting with clients or consultants or addressing internal sales meetings. Learning to identify your most salient messages and delivering them in an interesting and engaging way is a communication advantage.
While the process can feel uncomfortable, participants who embrace media training with a spirit of learning—and even fun—walk away with meaningful skills. It is an opportunity to up your communication game, gain new skills and feel prepared when the opportunity to be interviewed arises.
Lowe Group offers a range of media relations services. To learn more, send us a note and we’ll follow up with you.